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The Turley & Mara Law Firm, APLC

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions about the Jones Act, DBA, California workers’ compensation, or employment law. If you have more questions, contact us.

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  • MPN: Can I change to another Doctor in the Medical Provider Network?

    YES

    Under California Workers' Compensation Law - If your employer or the insurer created a medical provider network (MPN), your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company is required to provide you an MPN List of doctors.  You can change to any doctor in the MPN, for any reason.

    Medical Provider Network


    The best thing you can do for you and your family while dealing with your injury case is to always tell the truth. No matter what. Your case depends on your honesty. If a judge suspects you not being honest, then your case will be thrown out. 

    I have seen it many times in court. Trust me. Do not start a little white lie. Just be honest with your attorney and honest about your injury, and you will be better off. 

    Order my free book, Win Your Injury Case: The Ultimate No B.S. Guide To Avoiding Insurance Company Tricks That Ruin Your Case [ even before you hire a lawyer] It is full of helpful and useful information that will teach you what to do and not what to do when handling your Longshore Act Case.  Do your research folks, and you will succeed in court.

     

     

  • What are QMED ratings and service requirements?

    There are 10 different QMED ratings available and the service requirements are the same for each, except for QMED ratings as Deck Engine Mechanic and Engineman as noted below. In addition, each separate QMED rating requires passing a written examination, except for Deck Engine Mechanic and Engineman.                                                           

    RATING SOUGHT: SERVICE REQUIREMENTS:                                            

    QMED - Oiler, Fireman/Watertender, Junior Engineer, Refrigerating Engineer, Deck Engineer, Electrician, Machinist, OR Pumpman:

    Six months (180 days) service in the engine room on vessels working in the capacity of at least equal to Wiper.

     

    QMED - Deck Engine Mechanic While holding rating of QMED-Junior Engineer:

    1. Six months (180 days) service as QMED-Junior Engineer on steam vessels of at least 4,000 horsepower,

    OR

    2. Satisfactory completion of at least 4 weeks of indoctrination and training in the engine department of an automated steam vessel of at least 4,000 horsepower.

     

    QMED - Engineman While holding rating of QMED - Fireman/Watertender and Oiler, or Junior Engineer:

    1. Six months (180 days) service in any one or combination of QMED - Junior Engineer, Fireman/Watertender, or Oiler on steam vessels of at least 4,000 horsepower,

    OR

    2. Satisfactory completion of at least 2 weeks of indoctrination and training in the engine department of a partially automated steam vessel of at least 4,000

     

    My Best Advice


    The best thing you can do for you and your family while dealing with your injury case is to always tell the truth. No matter what. Your case depends on your honesty. If a judge suspects you not being honest, then your case will be thrown out. 

    I have seen it many times in court. Trust me. Do not start a little white lie. Just be honest with your attorney and honest about your injury, and you will be better off. 

    My Next Best Advice

    Order my free book, Win Your Injury Case: The Ultimate No B.S. Guide To Avoiding Insurance Company Tricks That Ruin Your Case [ even before you hire a lawyer] It is full of helpful and useful information that will teach you what to do and not what to do when handling your Longshore Act Case.  Do your research folks, and you will succeed in court.

  • Can I get pain and suffering in a Defense Base Act claim?

    Depending on Circumstances, Yes or No

    The Defense Base Act (DBA) offers many protections for civilian contractors working overseas. One of these is that workers do not have to prove fault or negligence of their employers in order to get injury compensation. They just have to prove that their injuries were caused or worsened by their employment.

    However, this guarantee of coverage comes at a price. By agreeing to pay the medical costs of a worker’s injury, employers cannot be sued for additional costs of an accident, such as lost wages and pain and suffering.

    Ways to Collect Pain and Suffering in a DBA Case

    Although the DBA prevents employees from getting the full costs of an injury from an employer, there are still ways to receive compensation. Depending on the circumstances of your case, the law may allow you to file a case against:

    • Second parties. Your employer can be named in a lawsuit if you are pursuing a case against someone else implicated in your injury. For example, if your injury occurred due to the recklessness or negligence of another worker, the employer could be named as a second party to the civil lawsuit.
    • Third parties. Employees can file civil suits involving someone other than your employer. If any or all parties are found to be at fault, you can recover pain and suffering, lost earnings, and damages for permanent disability or loss of enjoyment of life.
    • An uninsured employer. In most cases, DBA insurance coverage prevents workers from filing injury lawsuits against their employers. But if an employer, contractor, or a subcontractor fails to secure DBA insurance coverage, employees can sue the employer for civil damages. In these cases, employers cannot defend the claim based on your negligence or your assumption of risk in taking the job.

    It is important to understand how the DBA works, what coverage you are entitled to, and common ways these claims are denied in order to get fair payment. For help on gathering evidence and other ways to build your strongest case, look through our free book, DBA Resource Guide.

    Defense Base Act Lawyer DBA Attorney

    “I’ll tell you what the public likes more than anything. It’s the rarest commodity in the world honesty.” -Merle Haggard               

    My Best Advice

    Nothing is more important when handling your case, then speaking the truth. People who believe if they sugarcoat their case, it will help them win their case. Wrong.

    You have to be up-front, honest, and truthful to your attorney and the judge. If a judge suspects you’re not telling the truth, you can say goodbye to your case. Count on it. I have seen it time and time again.

    My Second Best Advice

    Take the time to research your case. The more homework you do, the better your case. Order my Free book, Win Your Defense Base Act Case: The Ultimate Straight Talk Roadmap To The Medical Treatment and Money You and Your Family Deserve. It will be the best thing for helping you take the necessary steps to win your Defense Base Act Case.

    And be sure to check out the 5 Star Amazon Reviews written by folks who wanted to research their case. 

    Also, you can check out my podcast at DBAradio.com where I cover important DBA issues.

    Need Help Today?

    Give us a call. (619) 234-2833

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley

  • How can I prove that my employer owes me unpaid wages?

    Knowledge & Evidence

    In order to get compensation for a wage and hour violation, you need two things: you must know how state and federal wage and hour laws apply to you, and you must be able to prove how much you have worked and how much you have been paid.

    How to Gather Evidence for a Wage and Hour Claim

    It is vital that you have concrete proof that your employer owes you wages that you have not received. Usually, this can be done in the following ways:

    • Keep detailed records of the hours you work. You shouldn’t rely on just your pay stub to tell you when and where you worked. Always keep your own schedule in a separate calendar that can be used to double-check your hours against your employer’s records.
    • Gather any additional evidence. Last-minute schedule changes and shift-swapping can cause confusion in payroll, but that doesn’t excuse an employer from paying your wages. If you traded shifts or worked at an alternate location, contact the other employee or manager who can confirm the time you worked.
    • Check your classification. Some employees are ineligible for overtime based on the income they earn or the tasks they perform. If your employer has classified you as exempt when you are not, you could be owed back pay dating all the way back to your hire date.
    • Check additional pay categories. Employers are required to pay workers for any unused vacation or paid time off after a worker leaves employment, so always make sure your leave balances have been accounted for.
    • Take note of dates. Not only are employees entitled to full and accurate pay, they have a right to receive these payments within a reasonable amount of time. Check your calendar closely to see if you could be owed interest on your unpaid wages as well as an additional waiting time penalty.

    After you have collected this evidence, you should speak with an attorney to determine if you have a valid wage and hour claim. Under California law, you can collect unpaid overtime for up to three years prior to the date you file your claim, so it is vital that you act quickly. Please feel free to use our website to learn how to get proper compensation under California pay laws.

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley

  • Are commercial fishing injuries covered by the Jones Act?

    Yes, if the Commercial Fisherman Works Exclusively for One Vessel

    A commercial fisherman who works exclusively for one vessel can be considered a seaman under the provisions of the Jones Act. This act protects crew members who suffer work injuries, including falling through hatches, amputation of fingers and limbs, crushing injuries, falling overboard, or even disability due to daily strain of the back, neck, and shoulders.

    Commercial fishermen are entitled to the following Jones Act injury payments:

    Injured Fisherman Attorney Jones Act Lawyer Seaman
    • Maintenance. If you are unable to work due to an injury, your employer must pay you a daily living allowance called “maintenance.” These are paid to any seaman who sustained an injury in the course of employment and should be paid until the injury has stabilized.
    • Cure. Your employer must also pay all reasonable medical costs that are incurred due to work injury or illness (known as “cure”). This can include emergency treatment, rehabilitation, doctors’ visits, surgeries, prescriptions, and transportation to any related medical appointments.
    • Unseaworthiness claims. Unlike other workers’ compensation programs, injured fisherman can still sue an employer for causing injury under the Jones Act. If the ship’s crew or captain was negligent or the ship owner did not make sure the vessel was seaworthy, a seaman may sue for additional compensation.

    Depending on the specifics of your case, your damages may include the costs of your lost wages, a loss of future earning capacity, permanent disability compensation, and an award for unnecessary pain and suffering. If you think your employer contributed to your injury, please feel free to use our website to learn more about your Jones Act negligence claim.

    Not Your Average Day at the Office

    Fishing is a grueling business, and fishermen are at particular risk of debilitating injuries and death every single day. In order to protect for-profit fishing operations, the federal maritime law provides injury coverage to commercial fishermen who are hurt while working. In some cases, workers may be covered by the additional protections of the Jones Act, which provides lost wages and medical payments while a fisherman is unable to work.

    Fisherman Attorney Jones Act Lawyer

    My Best Advice

    If you are an injured seaman, you have rights to be protected under the Longshore Jones Act. The first thing after you are injured is that you should always tell the truth. Nothing is more important than your credibility with the judge and your lawyer. No matter what type of injury or how you were injured, you should never sugarcoat or exaggerate anything.

    My Second Best Advice

    The next best thing you can do before you go to court is research as much information as you can about your Jones Act Case. I have handled these types of cases since the 1980's. I have gained valuable and helpful knowledge these cases. Order my Free book, Win Your Injury Case: The Ultimate No B.S. Guide To Avoiding Insurance Company Tricks That Ruin Your Case [Even before you hire a lawyer]. It is full of useful and helpful information on how to handle your Jones Act Case from beginning to end.

    Need Help Right Now?

    Call us today at (619) 234-2833. We are here to help. We are here to listen.

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley

  • Can a California employer fire a worker who is out on a leave of absence?

    Yes

    Unfortunately, yes. Workplaces often have their own policies regarding maternity leave, medical leave, and absences caused by family and sick leave, which should be examined carefully for any loopholes that can be used to terminate employees unfairly. There are a few laws in place that can protect workers from losing their jobs while out on leave; however, there are time limits and exceptions for each of these provisions.

    Understanding the Protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

    Employees may believe that their jobs are protected under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). While this law provides employees with twelve weeks of unpaid leave each year to cope with unforeseen illness or family problems, it does not apply to all workplaces. Employees can only enjoy the protections of the FMLA if they:

    • Work at a company that has 50 or more employees
    • Have worked for the company for at least one year
    • Have completed at least 1,250 hours of work for the employer in the required year of employment
    • Do not exceed twelve weeks of absences

    The FMLA states that employees cannot be fired for taking their guaranteed weeks of medical leave, and they cannot be retaliated against for doing so. When employees return from FMLA leave, their employers are required to employ them in their former positions or in a job that is substantially similar. If the employee is on leave due to a medical disability, an employer cannot terminate the employee due to the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Not only is it illegal to discriminate against an employee with a disability, an employer must attempt to make reasonable accommodations that will allow the employee to do his or her job.

    Employers can terminate an employee for reasons unrelated to leave and can do so whether the employee is on leave or not. For example, if an employee goes over the allotted twelve weeks, even by one day, the employer could terminate him or her for excessive absences. The important thing to remember is that while employers may terminate an employee while on protected leave, the employer must provide a legitimate reason for termination that is unrelated to the leave. If your employer has unfairly denied you a position or denied your benefits, read through a copy of our free guide, The Ultimate Straight Talk Guide To Getting Your Hard Earned Wages Back.

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley

  • Can I file a Jones Act injury claim if I was assaulted onboard ship?

    Yes

    A Jones Act seaman is guaranteed maintenance and cure payments for any injury sustained on the job, including assault. It doesn’t matter if you were attacked by another crew member, a passenger, or a trespasser on the vessel—you have a right to pursue a Jones Act case for injuries caused by assault, including:

    • Fights between crew members
    • An attack involving a gun, knife, or other weapons
    • Receiving a blow or gunshot during a theft or burglary
    • Injuries caused by intoxicated crew members or passengers
    • Attacks by crew members who are mentally unstable or have criminal backgrounds
    • Sexual assaults

    Since the consequences of physical and sexual assault can be devastating, it is important that seamen know their rights when filing for compensation. These attacks can cause physical injuries that result in scarring and disfigurement, and emotional injuries that take a toll on the victim’s mental health. If the victim cannot return to work due to the stresses of injury, he or she may be able to collect permanent disability benefits from his or her employer.

    What to Do if Your Assault Was Caused by Jones Act Negligence

    It is also important to consider why the assault occurred, and if the employer or shipowner could be held liable for the attack. While an employer cannot be held responsible for every crew member’s actions, the employer should take precautions to prevent personal attacks from happening. This could mean performing adequate background checks on crew members, performing drug and alcohol testing, screening new hires for mental health issues, and investigating any history of prior violence or aggressive behavior. An employer can also be held liable for lax security that made it easier to carry out the attack, such as poor lighting in corridors or broken locks on entrances to sleeping quarters.

    If your employer knowingly hired a crew member with a history of violence, you may be able to collect compensation through a Jones Act negligence claim. Please feel free to use our website to learn more about negligence claims, as well as collecting permanent disability for the effects of your injury.

    Jones Act Attorney Injured Seaman Lawyer

    The First Thing

    When handling your Jones Act Case, you must always tell the truth. Nothing is more important then your credibility. If a judge assumes you are being dishonest, your case will be thrown out and you will be left with nothing. I have seen it happen to many people.

    The Next Step

    Take the proper steps now, and do your research. Order my free book, Win your Injury Case: The Ultimate No B.S. Guide To Avoiding Insurance Company Tricks That Ruin Your Case [even before you hire a lawyer].

    This book is loaded with TONS of information on winning your Jones Act Case. 

    Need Help Today?

    Give us a call. (619) 234-2833

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley

  • Can I get California unemployment benefits if I was fired?

    Yes if there was no misconduct

    While many people believe that being fired excludes them from California unemployment benefits, that is not always the case. Under California law, any employees who have left employment through no fault of their own and are actively looking for work remain eligible to receive unemployment benefits. As long as the employee has not engaged in any misconduct, he or she may collect benefits after losing a job due to:

    • Layoffs. Employees who lose their jobs due to company cuts, reductions, mergers, or layoffs are not responsible for the loss of their positions, so they are eligible for unemployment.
    • Termination. Employees who are terminated for misconduct cannot collect benefits. To qualify as misconduct, an employer must be able to show that you substantially breached one of your regular job duties and that your misconduct was intentional and informed. However, if you were fired because you made an honest mistake, were unable to adequately perform your job, or you weren't a good fit for the position, you should be able to collect unemployment as long as you are looking for work.
    • Resignation or quitting. In most cases, people who quit their jobs are not eligible for unemployment unless they can show good cause for leaving employment. For example, employees who were facing illegal or unethical treatment by their employers (such as harassment, threats, discrimination, or a dangerous work environment) can collect unemployment if they attempted to resolve the situation before leaving their jobs. In addition, employees who need to relocate for family reasons or have pressing health or personal matters may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

    How California Workers Can Get the Unemployment Benefits They Are Owed

    Unfortunately, some employers will misrepresent the terms of an employee’s separation to prevent the employee from collecting unemployment. If you were denied unemployment on the grounds of misconduct or for some other inapplicable reason, you are within your rights to appeal the decision and collect your benefits. To learn more about taking action after unfair termination, browse through our articles or read through our free guide, The Ultimate Straight Talk Guide To Getting Your Hard-Earned Wages Back.

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley

  • Am I allowed to collect Social Security disability and Jones Act benefits at the same time?

    Yes

    Under the conditions of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA), injured seamen are not prohibited from collecting multiple types of injury payments. However, your total benefit payments can be reduced if you collect many different types of coverage.

    Injured Jones Act seamen should be wary of the following rules regarding collecting many types of injury and disability payments:

    • Receiving state workers’ compensation benefits. Eligible employees can collect both state workers' compensation payments and Jones Act payments, although any amount you receive from the state will be deducted from the amount your employer owes you. In these cases, injured sailors are allowed to collect the higher of the weekly compensation rates offered by the two systems. In addition, some states do not allow concurrent collection of workers’ compensation and LHWCA benefits, so the amount you receive can vary depending on where your case is heard.
    • Social Security reductions. Seamen who qualify for Social Security Administration (SSA) and Jones Act benefits can collect them at the same time for the same injury. However, the amount you receive from the SSA will likely be reduced as a result of collecting multiple payments, and you are required to notify the SSA if you receive multiple types of workers’ compensation.
    • Income tax. The IRS requires injured workers to report all of the funds received through various workers' compensation programs on their yearly tax returns. Although you are required to declare these payments, the IRS exempts your injury or survivors' benefits from taxation if they were paid through a federal or state workers' compensation program.

    A Jones Act Case May Be Your Best Option

    If you are receiving multiple types of injury benefits in an attempt to make ends meet, you should investigate whether your injury could have been caused by unsafe working conditions. The Jones Act allows seamen to sue ship owners for negligence, including employee mistakes and poor vessel maintenance. To find out if you could be owed more than your maintenance and cure payments, please use our website to learn more about negligence claims.

     

    “When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S. I want it straight up, with no double talk. I figure you do also. I always use plain English, with no sugarcoating, no B.S. lawyer talk, and no double talk-just old fashioned, unsweetened, unvarnished truth-just the way that I would want it.” -Bill Turley

    When it comes to your Jones Act Case, nothing is more important than telling the truth. You always must tell the truth. I have seen cases thrown out because a person was not honest. Always tell the truth. No Matter what.

    Research your Jones Act Case. Read my free book: Win Your Injury Case: The Ultimate No B.S Guide To Avoiding Insurance Company Tricks That Ruin Your Case[ Even Before You Hire A Lawyer]

  • Are the payments I get from the DBA special fund lifelong benefits?

    Yes as Long as There is No Change in Disability Status

    Lifelong Disability Benefits

    Many people are concerned about the length of time they can receive disability benefits through the Second Injury Fund (the Special Fund). Generally speaking, if you collect permanent total disability (PTD) or permanent partial disability (PPD) through this fund, your DBA special fund benefits can last the rest of your life as long as there is no change in your disability status.

    However, most employees will go through periods of injury improvement or worsening disability, both of which can affect a number of their benefits. Your employer or insurer may petition for a modification of your award based on a change in your condition, causing an increase, decrease, or termination of your payments. A few common situations where an employee’s benefits may be modified include:

    • Temporary disability. Employees collecting PPD benefits may require treatments, rest, or surgery that will leave them temporarily unable to work. During this time, the employee should be considered totally disabled, and his employer or insurance company should modify his benefits to temporarily increase his payments. Temporary disability is paid by the employer, not through the Special Fund.
    • Worsening disability. Unfortunately, some employees who receive PPD benefits will suffer a deterioration of their conditions, making them permanently unable to earn a living. If your injury gets worse to the point where you can no longer work, you must apply for permanent total disability benefits through the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP). You must have proper evidence of the change in your condition, such as past medical records, recent medical evaluations, and your doctor’s recommendations and work restrictions. You should also send this information to your employer or insurer to let them know there will be a modification in the amount and type of benefits you receive.

    What If My Employer Unfairly Modifies My DBA Benefits?

    You, your employer, and your insurer may all submit requests to modify a number of your benefits. If one party does not agree to the proposed changes or termination of benefits, you may request an informal conference to decide the matter or get advice from a longshore attorney on how to proceed. To find out more about getting maximum payment for a DBA injury, read through a free copy of our guide, Win Your Defense Base Act Case.

     

    “I’ll tell you what the public likes more than anything. It’s the rarest commodity in the world - honesty.” - Merle Haggard

    DBA Attorney Defense Base Act Lawyer

     

    Truth Matters

    When handling your DBA case, nothing matters more than the honest truth. Nothing. You must be straightforward and honest about your case. I have seen many instances where a client will sugar coat their injury and the courts throw out the case. Why? All because they were not honest from the beginning.

    The DBA insurance company is not on your side. They have traps laying around for you to fall in. And bet on it, if you do not follow the proper steps with your DBA case, you will fall right in.

    The Next Step

    Remember the DBA insurance company is not your friend. I strongly suggest you order a free copy of my book, Win Your Defense Base Act Case. Trust me. My only goal here is to make sure honest hard working folks like you, do not get ripped off by these companies.

    The book has plenty of great reviews on Amazon, and it is a guide to only help you succeed in your case.

    You can check out my podcast at DBAradio.com where I cover important DBA issues.

    Need help right now?

    Call us today at (619) 234-2833 or you can fill out the contact form on this web page. 

    Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley

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